AXA PE: trio depart, London arm to list

The private equity arm of the French insurer has announced the departure of three senior figures in its London and New York funds of funds teams, as well as a listing for the UK business.

Paris-headquartered AXA Private Equity (AXA PE) is currently in the process of reorganising its funds of funds activities in London and New York.
 
The move sees the departures of the London team’s two managing directors of primary funds, David Hutchings and James Pitt. Hutchings’ exit is particularly surprising given that he only joined AXA PE from Boston-headquartered gatekeeper Cambridge Associates in March last year. He will maintain a relationship with the firm as a consultant.
 

Hutchings: remains as consultant to AXA Private Equity

Pitt joined the firm in 2002 from US private equity house Whitney & Co, where he was manager of European direct investments.
 
AXA PE also announced the departure of Barry Miller, senior investment officer in the New York office. The firm declined to comment on the future plans of Hutchings, Pitt or Miller. According to media reports, Miller is expected to join the New York office of Pomona Capital as a principal.
 
Vincent Gombault, member of the executive committee and managing director of the firm’s fund of funds activities, told PEO: “Our third secondary fund of funds product is already engaged above 66 percent and we are now thinking about the next generation, so it was important to ask who would want to commit themselves to AXA Private Equity for the next four years,” he said.
 
Gombault added that, in the case of Hutchings, the team’s focus was mainly on secondary activities rather than primary funds, and the move from managing director to consultant would give him “more freedom”.
 
According to AXA PE, the London office will modify its structure to become a listed company, AXA Private Equity UK. As part of the change, the team will move into new premises at the beginning of June.
 
In July, Michael Ferragamo, currently compliance officer at AXA Private Equity US, will join the UK team as compliance officer for both the UK and the US. Alexandre Monteux, an analyst in the Paris office, will also move to the UK to join the investment team.
 
AXA PE’s London-based fund of funds team manages the third party European primary and secondary fund of funds business and oversees mandates for large institutions and pension funds, including AXA Sun Life.
 
AXA PE’s most recent fund investments in the UK include the €4.4 billion Cinven III fund; the €700 million Englefield Fund; Graphite Capital’s £375 million sixth vehicle; Bowmark Capital Partners III, which closed on £105 million; Apax Partners’ €4.3 billion Apax Europe VI; and Legal and General Ventures’ £183 million vehicle LGV IV.
 
In the US, AXA PE has committed to the $535 million Wicks Communications & Media Partners III fund and Industrial Growth Partners’ $275 million second vehicle.